Washington Mourns Loss of Wizards’ Owner Abe Pollin

NBA giant moved franchise to D.C., built downtown arena with his own means, and was a friend to many local charities:

By JOSEPH WHITE (AP) – 28 minutes ago

WASHINGTON — Abe Pollin, the Washington Wizards owner who brought an NBA championship to the nation’s capital and later had the mettle to stand up to Michael Jordan, died Tuesday. He was 85.

His death was announced by his company, Washington Sports & Entertainment. No details were disclosed but Pollin suffered from progressive supranuclear palsy, a rare brain disorder impairs movement and balance. He had heart bypass surgery in 2005 and broke his pelvis two years later.

Pollin was the NBA’s longest-tenured owner. With his death, a group led by longtime AOL executive Ted Leonsis is poised to take ownership of a Washington-area sports empire that began when Pollin purchased the Baltimore Bullets in 1964.

In the changing world of professional sports, Pollin stood out for decades as an owner who tried to run his teams like a family business. He bemoaned the runaway salaries of free agency and said it would have been difficult for him to keep the Wizards if it weren’t for the NBA’s salary cap.

Pollin considered his greatest accomplishment the Verizon Center. He risked much of his fortune to build the arena in a neglected D.C. neighborhood, and it has spearheaded a revitalization of downtown Washington since its opening in 1997.

“There’s no important initiative or any end to difficult situations or any settlement or any legislation that Abe was not leading the way on across all these years,” NBA commissioner David Stern said in March. “He’s been an extraordinary league person, always voting the league way, similar to what he did in building Verizon Center. He was going the D.C. way, not necessarily what was in his best economic interest but what was in the best economic interests of Washington, D.C.”…

The Man will be missed (and I meant to capitalize it).

BCB

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